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Albuquerque, NM: Sandia Crest Trail (North)

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Star Star Star Star Star

Distance: 12.1 miles


Ride the tram to the top of the Sandia Crest, then tackle a 4,000-foot descent past aspen groves and juniper-dotted landscapes on this 12-mile shuttle hike.
  • Aspen Groves
  • Views to the East
  • Horny Toad

This route takes advantage of the Sandia Peak Tramway to make a downhill dayhike out of the northern half of the Sandia Crest Trail (marked No. 130). Stash a vehicle at the North Crest Trailhead for the return trip to the Tramway.

Be prepared for major changes in temperature on this hike: The trail starts above 10,000 feet and ends in the upper Sonoran zone.

Want to make an overnighter out of the entire 26-mile Crest Trail? Travel south to north, taking advantage of intermittent level terrain to catch your breath as you climb. Our tip: Pack light. You can leave the stove at home if you grab dinner at the High Finance Restaurant and bring a cold breakfast.

-Mapped by Bill Velasquez

TO TRAILHEAD: Start: From I-25 and I-40 in Albuquerque, take I-25 north 7.5 miles to Tramway Rd., exit 234. Turn right. Take Tramway Rd. east 4.9 miles to Tramway Rd. NE; turn left. Take Tramway Rd. NE .8 mile to Tramway Loop NE. Bear right, and go .2 mile to parking at base of tramway.

End: From Bernalillo, take I-25 north to exit 242, NM 165. Go right; take NM 165 east 5 miles to Tunnel Springs Rd. Turn right; go 1.5 miles to trailhead.

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